Conair @Abbotsford Oct. 2019
I had made arrangements for a visit with Conair at Abbotsford, but due circumstance beyond my control I had to revise my itinerary and the new dat could not be accommodated by Conair. Plus, there was a condition that an escorted tour could be arranged provided it did not rain. And it did rain.. Most days in fact.
I managed to get a good series of photos of Conair's fleet, most of their aircraft returned to homebase as the fire season was over and conditions had been wet for much of the season.
Thanks to Jim Reith for allowing me a peek from the office windows, but mostly it was a bit of a scramble from the wrong side of the fence.
Tanker 53 is C-GKFO, c/n 78 built in 1953. It was first operated by Braniff (N3424), next was Allegheny Airlines (N5815), Aspen Airways and Air New England (N5815), to KF Aerospace (C-GKFO), leased by Trans-Provincial
Airlines, another lease by Fedex and then to Conair who converted it to 'waterbomber'. [www.atdb.aero]
Tanker 60 is Lockheed L.188AF c/n 1143 of Conair Aviation. Stored? Delivered to Western Air Lines as N9745C; converted L.188A by Lockheed in 1969, temporary reg'd as CF-IJC. Nordic Air operated it as LN-MOD, to Fred
Olsen Airtransport as LN-FOG, leased by Air de Cologne but acquisition was cancelled. As G-LOFD it went to Atlantic Airlines. Conair purchased it and converted C-FYYJ for aerial firefighting during 2/10-6/10 at Abbotsford-YXX);
tanker number 60/460.
Interesting background, right? That L.188 in Atlantic Airlines c/s must have been disgarded, unfit for conversion.
Conair Canadair CL-215T C-GFSL (c/n 1086). It has 'Alberta'-titles on the fuselage. Tanker 202.
During my visit to Air Spray later this trip I learned that rules and regulations to fire fighting aircraft differ,
hence certain aircraft get equipped for those specific provinces and always get stationed in (e.g.) Alberta.
Tanker 54 (454) is Convair CV580 C-FKFM (c/n 70), which was first delivered, as CV340-31, to United Air Lines
as N73133. Aero Spacelines operated it after its conversion to CV580. Other operators include Farmers Union
Travel Club and Aspen Airways. It was reg'd as C-FKFM for KF Aerospace and it went on lease to All Canada
and Trans-Provincial Airlines. Conair bought it from Kelowna Aerospace (KF) and converted it to 'slurry bomber'.
A peek through the (very) high fence: airtankers 449 (C-FKFL, CV580 c/n 465) and 447 (C-FKFB c/n 57) in my sights.
From my files: CV580 c/n 57; converted CV340-31, delivered 30mar53 as N73129 to United Air Lines,
cvtd CV580 redelivery 27aug64 to Frontier, in 1979 bought by Gem State, to Golden State AL. To ERA
Aviation (Alaska) Sep81, operational through the 1990s (reported on 24jul01 at Kenai,AK). On 05Feb02 at
Tuscaloosa-Lafayette/Purdue, Indiana. Bt Kelowna Flightcraft 29May03. Reg'd 17Dec03 as C-FKFB to
Conair Group. Reported on 29Jun04 at Kamloops in action. See my Photos by Friends & Guests #03 (2006).
Tanker 55 of Conair is CV580(F) C-FHKF (c/n 374). It was delivered as CV440 OO-SCS to SABENA, from there
it went to Frontier Airlines (Frontier Commuter?), reregistered as
N73166. To Sierra Pacific Airlines and Arizona
Airways (Sep.'93; lsf Sierra Pacific). Stored at Avra-Valley (Arizona) ca.Sep.'97. Bought by Kelowna Flightcraft
in April'99. I photographed C-GEUZ in Aug.'99 at Kelowna,BC. Rereg'd C-FHKF for Kelowna Flightcraft Air
Charter on 20oct99. Converted to airtanker in Jan.2000. Bought by Conair 18Feb2000.
Reported operational as water bomber Conair 455 in July 2000.
60 has been detailed above on this page. Tanker 52 is C-FKFA, CV580(F) c/n 100.
C/n 100 was first delivered to Delta Air Lines (N4810C; CV440 or CV340?) and later went to North Central
Airlines. Operated as C-GFHD by Quebecair, rereg'd N5807
for Seair Alaska Airlines, then to KF Aerospace
(C-FKFA, converted to CV580), was leased from KF Aerospace by Trans-Provincial AL and subsequently (2002)
went to Conair Aviation ('T52'). Saw also firefightig service at Ballarat, Australia 13Dec10-02Apr11!
Bottom pic: Conair Firecats C-FEFX (c/n 527/031) and C-FEFK
(c/n 014) stored; 2009 pics of both on
my Photos by Friends & Guests #31, while still operational.
In 2006 I visited Abbotsford, being shown around,
and found a much larger 'cache' of S-Trackers stored.
Tanker 44 (444) is C-FFKF. Convair CV580 (F) c/n 179 started with United AL (N73153) as a CV340, was converted
and flew for operators such as Mountainwest and Sierra Pacific AL (leased to Aspen AW, Wings West AL and Resorts Commuter AL), was reg'd CC-FFKF for KF Aerospace
and converted to waterbomber for use by Conair. [ATDB.aero]
Besides FEFX and FEFK we also see Conair Firecat C-FOPY (c/n DH-24/019) stored
It was built as CS2F-1 by Canadair for Royal Canadian Navy as RCN 1525. Bought
by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, rr CF-IOF, later rr CF-OPY coded 56. Bt Conair in 1980, rr C-FOPY; cvtd Firecat April'85, tailnbr 569.
I photographed it in Aug.'99 at Kamloops as Conair 69. And seen at Abbotsford on 09apr02, stil tanker 69.
Still operational on 14Jun03 at Kamloops. In 2009 at Abbotsford air show, Photos by Friends & Guests #31.
My report Abbotsford 26Jun2006.
Both moved from Vancouver to here, in fact CF-TCY I had seen good looking at 'Delta Heritage Airpark' in 2006. LINK.
A photo by Ken Swartz (28Nov2018)
showed much of the same sad appearance on both, but has a better angle on CF-TCY.
The history of this Lockheed L.18 (built 1940, serial 2064) can also be found on Ken's Propliners gallery on my website.
Details on Grumman Tracker 148 can be found on my USCan 2006 page 2.
374/029), an unidentified L.188, ex/ Air Atlantic (Atlantic AL) and another, unidentified Firecat.
Ken Swartz wrote me: "I understand that Buffalo Airways bought the Atlantic Airways L-188 at YXX and Buffalo Joe also got two Firecat’s as part of the package. A couple years ago I was told the L-188 was moved to the Cascade yard after its sale to Buffalo … so you may see it fly again .."
Fortunately, not long after
Matthew Harris of Cascade Aerospace confirmed to me this L.188 is indeed C-GYCG.
He added ".. the aircraft is now
owned by Buffalo Airways".
C-GYCG is L.188PF c/n 1138, which operated with Northwest AL (N134US), Int'l Jet Air (CF-IJR), NWT AIR (C-FIJR),
Air Contractors (G-FIJR, temp reg'd EI-HCF ASL AL Ireland, ntu), Atlantic Airlines (G-FIJR), Conair Aviation
(C-GYCG, unused), Buffalo A/W (C-GYCG, reg'd 31Oct2016). Photo on Photos by Friends & Guests #59.